Monday, October 18, 2010

It's raining!

Hey hey hey! It's a great day! This has been a great week too. Looks like a typhoon is on its way tonight! We were all pretty scared a couple days ago, because the forecast showed a signal 4 (President Jensen said that's "very bad") and it was heading straight for Baguio. So we were warned to get ready with all our 72-hour kits and "prepare for the worst." Luckily, yesterday we were notified that it has shifted a little northward and is now aimed at the more northern part of Luzon. We'll still get a typhoon, but it will be signal 2 instead of 4. It's supposed to start I think sometime tonight. Don't worry, we'll be just fine! Our apartment is on high ground.

Wow, it's hard to believe that I reached my 1-year mark this week! It's gone by like a dream. The other night I fell into an deep and unexpected mud swamp and lost my shoe, but then dug it out again. It was a really funny sight. Gotta be careful during rainy season--you never know what you'll step into! We had a two-day sisters training here in Urdaneta, with all of the sisters in the mission. It was great. President and Sister Jensen taught us a lot about the new "simplified curriculum" - helping us to be more effective teachers. We learned lots. And it was so wonderful to see all of the other sisters, especially my former companions sister Dolojan and Sister Dollente! Sister Broadhead and I went on splits that night in my area (it was my first time being companions with another American) and they slept over at our apartment. It was the first time all the sisters in the mission have been in the same place at the same time! What fun.

President Jay E. Jensen (president of the 70) and Elder Co (area 70) also came and gave a multi-zone conference on Thursday! They came to check possible sites where to build the temple here in Urdaneta. Wow, their talks were amazing. We learned the great importance and power of using the hymns and primary songs in our teaching, and how to "teach people, not lessons."

Sister Jerrene Manzanilla, 16, is progressing really well! She is great. Her mother is a member of the church, and used to be really active, until, in a tragic accident, the other two of Jerrene's siblings drowned in the ocean (ages 6 and 7). As a result, she went completely inactive and returned to Catholism. But here's the neat part: In their home they had the children's book "Stories from the Book of Mormon" (the one with pictures) that the missionaries had given to her mom many years ago. And even though her family stopped going to church, Jerrene continued to read and cherish that book. And it was that book that kindled her testimony and helped her feel the spirit, and eventually led her back to church with the desire to be baptized. It is very worn-down and old now, but she still reads it, along with the Book of Mormon that we gave to her. She often brings it out to show us with excitement the pictures associated with the stories she has read in the Book of Mormon. It made me realize how little things can really make a big difference. Those missionaries who gave her mom that children's book probably had no idea the impact it would have on her daughter's conversion. Sister Jerrene is going to be a shining beacon and light to her family. She is so childlike and sweet, and valiant! I'm sure she will be an instrument in Heavenly Father's hands in helping her entire family receive the full blessings of the gospel someday. We are working with her mom to help her come back. She is a such a sweet sister -- she still has a lot of anger and bitterness that has built up inside over the years, but we sang hymns and comforted her. Hopefully we can help her come back and let the Savior heal the hurt. The gospel is the answer to every question and every problem. I know that's true.

I love you lots and lots!
Love Always,

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